Stop playing sideways, it’s outdated !

In Didgeridoo technics by Gauthier Aubé4 Comments

Playing one’s didgeridoo front view or sideways ? The debate was still going on a few years ago. Today, the majority of players agree: playing front view is the best of ways ! Sideways playing is only favored when very specific techniques related to Beat-box are needed. Here are some other arguments in favor of front view playing!

Front view enables a better articulation of the didgeridoo

I remember that afternoon in Australia, I was discussing this subject with Bob. With the corner of his lips, he said: “It is far easier to articulate by pay lip service than with the corner of one’s lips!” Try talking with the side of your mouth. You will see, that besides being funny, it is rather difficult to achieve! Front view playing definitely enables a better articulation.


Playing front view has the big advantage to focus the musician on what his doing . The cheeks are balanced and the muscles are building up in the same way. Watch a sideways player’s cheeks, one is often blown and rapidly becomes less muscular than the second one. Besides, if a person practices didgeridoo intensively, his/her smile can even become unbalanced! Which is not very aesthetic, as you will agree. 🙂 On top of that, the whole head is tilted. On the other side, a front view player’s head straightens up naturally. Finally, as the player is centered, the sound can come straight from his stomach. As a result, one can play didgeridoo much more readily. Voice, over vibrations and many other didgeridoo techniques are much easier when particed in the center.

With other musicians

Didgeridoo is not the only instrument in which a musician blows! Trumpeters, trombonists and all the fans of our Western music did not get it wrong : they all play front view. Yet, sometimes some are slightly quirky, in regards to the center axis, but it is extremely slight, nothing to do with our didgeridoo sideways playing.

And among the Aborigines ?

This is in my opinion the best argument. Look at an Aboriginal playing traditional didgeridoo, I speak here about Yolgnu yidaki player (thank you Stephen for the precision). You will soon understand that playing sideways is a white man’s mistake. Aborigines play front view and only front view . And in terms of experience, they have already accumulated a few thousand years of it … No comment. 🙂

Oh, and one last thing to conclude with. You will never find a sideways didgeridoo player in peace. They are always questioning themsleves about playing front view. They try to convince themselves that they will get to it one day. 🙂 And oddly, conversely, you will never meet a front view player who is thinking about trying to play sideways! So, my player friends, get in the center, it will change your life. 😃

And share your experience, your problems or your wishes in the comments ! I’d be happy to answer !

About the Author

Gauthier Aubé

Hi ! My name is Gauthier Aubé and I’m passionate about the didgeridoo. I started playing at the end of 2001. And with time, didgeridoo has become my profession. A real stroke of luck ! Since then, I’ve released two albums, written a book about how to play and invented the card game Wakatou, which helps players to create their own rhythms on the didgeridoo. Enjoy your reading !


  1. 🙂 I have always maintained that the music of the Didgeridoo, when taken out of its traditional context in northern Aboriginal tribes of Australia, is very much open to the techniques and expression developed by individual players. The beauty of this instrument in the contemporary world (in part) is the vast range of different styles and types of sounds being produced in this extraordinary instrument.

    As a long term contemporary exponent of the Didge I play from the side. Why? Well, I was trained as a french horn player which, as Gauthier points out, meant that I was streamlined into playing from a central embouchure on my mouth. However I found when I tried playing the didjeridu that although I could make decent sound from the front of my mouth it was not comfortable for me – perhaps because it had such a large mouthpiece area and I was frustrated in trying to play front on. Until I saw Aboriginal players in Melbourne playing from the side – REALLY from the side! It was Aboriginal didge players with a sideways embouchure that influenced my decision to play sideways, and for me there was an instant connect on several levels playing this way. I have never recovered :).

    OK – Yolgnu yidaki pullers teach that you can’t be a good Yidaki player if you play from the side. Sure there are balancing factors involved for the cheeks and musculature playing from the front – and I do encourage my students to begin playing front on. However I respectfully disagree with the idea that you cannot be a good Didge player playing from the side and all of the reasons that Gauthier cites here as to why HE considers it better to play from the front should be much more nuanced. This is an opinion and not a fact! ESSENTIALLY, there is no ‘right way’ to play this instrument, unless you are bound by the rules and constrictions of tradition from the original cultures it comes from.

    My personal belief, supported by the evidence of thousands of individually unique players of this extraordinary instrument all over the world, is that creating self-serving rules about how it should ‘best’ be played is counterproductive to a movement that continues to expand into new musical territories precisely because of it’s uniqueness and open possibility. And Gauthier, your passion for and skills on the Didgeridoo are undeniable, but I think you should be careful not to claim too much definitive knowledge about something that has such a potent story outside of your own experience.

  2. Author

    Hello Stephen 🙂
    Nice to read you on my blog, I really appreciate that you took this time to share your opinion and it’s an honorific for me to have your comment her !

    Well as you understood, I was a bit causing (hope I use the good word) in my article. My goal is more to have reaction and so people can share there own view. 🙂

    Just to answer :
    • I’m totally agree with you, the beauty of didgeridoo is that every body develop his own habits and this will not stop tomorrow because every body are unique. However, I observed with all thousand didge lesson I gave those last year, that playing in front is easier and give more possibilities with time. And when people say it’s harder, it’s because they just miss little tips to have a good sound quickly. If they have it, it’s not more difficult to play in front. But of course every body can choose it his/her own way ! Like you said it just my view !

    • For your experience about Aboriginal man in Sydney. You right I should speak about Aboriginal Yolgnu Yidaki players to be more precise. I’m going to correct it. Thank you !

    • I think I never say that you can be a good player on the side. As you know, I’m a big fan of your style and you was one of my influence. So of course we can be a great didge player like you ! But I just say that I believe, playing in front open more possibilities.

    • For the last point, I assume that people who will read my blog will understand that it’s only my point of view. And it’s what is great because, people can speak about it and give they own, like you did. So I decided when I wrote all my article to don’t put “I think”, “in my point of view” to make it lighter to read.
    But you right, I will think about put an introduction in my blog, so people will know !

    See you dear Stephen and thanks for your time !

  3. Tried to play front view for two years after 20 years playing sideways. I built facial muscles, but I never could play as sharp as I used to, and the harmonics I play front view are awful. So I’m back playing sideways and I’m having fun playing didg again 🙂

    1. Author

      Ahah yes, the best is to have fun !
      To play in front, you have to understand the commissures of your lips. Quite difficult to explain by writing, but it’s a bit like a begin of smiling. If you understand this and also the fact that the humid part of your lips should vibrate. So you have to put them the most in as you can. Sorry for my English, I hope I’m clear !

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